A lot of the principles are glittering generalities. However, I do enjoy reading those kind of statements to remind me what good old common sense is all about when it comes to work. A lot of the principles can be applied to your fitness program too. Here are my favorite common sense principles when it comes to diet and fitness:
First, “Getting to where you’re going requires knowing where you are.“: If you’re not clear what your current health and fitness levels are and you avoid doing an objective inventory, you’re going to have a hard time making your work-outs and diet different or better. Knowing your body fat percentage, knowing how much weight you can lift for different exercises help setting goals.
“You have to name it to claim it”: if you cannot name with great specificity, what it is that you want, then you will never be able to step up and claim it: set specific, measurable, realistic, time-based goals.
However, “Too controlled is out of control.“: fine points are fine, as long as there’s a point. There is no point for example in getting on the scale everyday or becoming a control freak about your work-outs.
“If it’s on your mind, it’s probably not getting done“: left only in the mind, self-commitments to exercise create infinite loops that make no progress and produce inner conflict and stress. As soon as you make any sort of commitment with yourself, not completed in the moment, your mind will demand and take psychic energy until it’s resolved. The solution is simple. Take your agenda, make appointments with yourself at the gym and write them down to get them out of your head.
“Only one thing on your mind is ‘in the zone’“: giving full attention to the one thing at hand is a hallmark of high performance. You’re ‘in your zone’ when you have only one thing as a focus, with no inner distraction or conflict. You’re totally present, not worrying about something else (work, kids, grocery shopping to do) when working-out. When it comes to weight-training, you put your mind into the muscle, you don’t let your mind wander. In my opinion, if you’re doing your cardio right, you shouldn’t be able to follow a television show at the same time. When you’re done with your work-out, you’re done and you move on to another activity with the same clarity of focus.
“Small things, done consistently, create major impact.“: real change doesn’t occur with a flash in the pan but with steady engagement. What’s tricky is that it takes an equal amount of consistent negative behaviors to create significant unwanted consequences. For example, habitual self-degrading self-talk, though seemingly minor in the moment, reinforces lowered self-esteem and performance overall. Either way, the small actions we engage in regularly are the linchpins to the major results we experience.
“You sometimes speed up by slowing down.“: when you’re training hard, you will find yourself reaching plateaus where, no matter how hard and consistently you work out, you don’t appear to be getting much better. Take a break from the gym for a few days, do light physical activities or even nothing and come back to the gym with renewed focus and power.